The Kaduna State Government and Zipline, the world’s first and only national scale drone delivery service, announced a partnership to use a logistics network of autonomous delivery drones to help transform access and availability of routine and emergency medicine for millions of people in the state.
“This groundbreaking initiative was made possible thanks to the leadership and support of Kaduna State Governor Mallam Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai,” a statement by the Kaduna State Government said.
“The revolutionary new service will use drones to make on-demand deliveries of hundreds of different vaccines, blood products, and life-saving medications. The service will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from three distribution centres—each equipped with 30 drones—and deliver to more than 1,000 health facilities serving millions of people across Kaduna State. Together, all three distribution centres will be capable of microtargeting the delivery of more than six tons of medical products each week over more than 60,000 square kilometres.
“Kaduna State is focused on delivering one of the best public healthcare systems in Nigeria,” said Governor Nasir El-Rufai.
“The state has upgraded 255 primary health centres, one in each political ward, to improve access to health care services. It is also implementing a supply chain transformation programme in the health sector, including the installation of a Pharmagrade warehouse, to efficiently service the needs of hospitals for medicines, consumables and vaccines. Our primary health board is recruiting and training 3000 officers to manage these systems and ensure that health facilities do not experience stock-outs.”
According to the statement, Mr El-Rufai noted that “while we celebrate our successes, we must also recognize that we have much more work to do to create universal access to critical healthcare for all.”
“The agreement with Zipline builds on and adds value to our initiatives to strengthen the capacity of the Kaduna State health system. This new emergency drone delivery service is a great solution to deliver vaccines, blood and other lifesaving products instantly when time is of the essence. It will help ensure that millions of people in Kaduna State will always get the care they need.”
“Where you live shouldn’t determine whether or not you have access to the medicine you need,” said Zipline CEO Keller Rinaudo. ”That’s why I’m so proud of our partnership with Kaduna State. Our work together will help transform the quality of care for millions and help make Nigeria a world leader in using technology to expand universal healthcare access.”
About the New Service
The revolutionary new service, which is expected to launch operations in the second quarter of 2021, is part of the Government of Kaduna State’s bold vision of using drone delivery to establish universal, seven-days-a-week access to lifesaving and critical medicines for most of its more than eight million citizens over the coming years. Zipline drones will make on-demand and emergency deliveries of blood products, vaccines, and life-saving medications.
In addition to expanding access to routine and emergency medical deliveries, the new drone delivery service will also expand access to the COVID-19 vaccine, particularly for rural and hard to reach populations. Zipline has built an end-to-end, cold chain distribution capability that allows it to safely deliver frozen and ultra-low COVID-19 vaccines and medical products.
This will allow health facilities in Kaduna State to bypass the need for ultra-low freezers—which are required to transport, store and distribute the Pfizer vaccine—by receiving on-demand deliveries of the precise amount of COVID-19 vaccines they require at any time, safely and compliantly within the required temperature profile.
The Government of Kaduna State’s vision is for Zipline to establish a total of three distribution centres across the state in phases over the next several years. The government’s goal is to put almost all of its more than eight million citizens within minutes of a lifesaving medical delivery by drone. In the first phase of operations, a distribution centre located in Barwa in Kauru LGA will be established to serve health facilities there beginning in Q3 2021. Over the next year, additional distribution centres are planned in Rafingyeda in Birnin Gwari LGA and Kachia in Kachia LGA. All three distribution centres are projected to serve over one thousand regional hospitals and health facilities serving millions of people.
Throughout both the developed and developing world, access to life-saving and critical health products for billions of people is hampered by the last-mile problem: the inability to deliver needed medicines and vaccines from a city to rural or remote locations due to lack of adequate transportation, communication, or supply chain infrastructure.
A NEW SOLUTION
To increase access and reduce medical waste, key stock of blood products, vaccines and life-saving medications will be stored at Zipline’s distribution centres for just-in-time delivery. Health workers will place orders by text message or call and promptly receive their deliveries in 30 minutes on average.
The drones both take off from and land at Zipline’s distribution centres, requiring no additional infrastructure or manpower at the clinics they serve. The drones fly autonomously and can carry 1.8 kilos of cargo, cruising at 110 kilometres an hour, and have a round trip range of 160 kilometres—even in high-speed winds and rain.
Each of the three planned Zipline distribution centres in Kaduna State will cover a delivery area of more than 20,000 km2. They will collectively be capable of delivering to more than 1,000 health facilities serving millions of people. Deliveries are made from the sky, with the drone descending to a safe height above the ground and releasing a box of medicine by parachute to a designated spot at the health centres it serves.
HOW ZIPLINE WORKS
Each week, a single Zipline distribution centre—a combination medical fulfilment warehouse and drone airport—is capable of the micro-targeted delivery of more than two tons of temperature-controlled medicine to any point across an almost 20,000 square km service area.
Each aircraft can fly 80 km’s round trip, in strong winds and rain, day or night, to make on-demand deliveries in 30 to 45 minutes on average. Zipline’s drones have flown more than 5 million autonomous miles to deliver more than 1 million doses of vaccines, units of blood, and critical and life-saving medications to thousands of health facilities serving more than 25 million people across three countries.
Zipline is the world’s only national-scale, instant drone delivery service. Its mission is to provide every human on Earth with instant access to vital medical supplies. Zipline’s drones have flown more than 4 million miles in multiple countries, delivered more than 1 million medical products, and helped health care providers to save thousands of lives. Zipline designs, assembles, and operates its unmanned aircraft system in the United States and is progressing towards FAA type certification of its drones and air carrier certification for its US operations. The most respected investors in the world support Zipline, including Temasek, Baillie Gifford, Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, GV, The Rise Fund, a global impact fund managed by TPG, Katalyst Ventures, Toyota Tsusho Corporation, and Stanford University.
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